Gendercrunching January 2013 – And Marvel In 2012

Tom Hanley writes;

DC and Marvel were both down from their December totals for female creators but had strong numbers nonetheless, with Marvel maintaining the top spot for yet another month. We also take a look at Marvel's 2012 numbers overall to see how things have changed over the past year.


DC bumped their usual fourth week books from the end of December to the first week of January, avoiding releasing books on a holiday and taking advantage of January being a five-week month, so there are a lot more comics than usual this month. In January 2013, DC released 102 new comics featuring 831 credited creators, 734 men and 97 women. Here are their stats:


Falling 0.8% overall isn't negligible, but 11.7% is still nicely above average for DC. Cover artists, writers, pencillers, and letterers all went up slightly (with one female penciller in January topping December's zero). Everything else was down, with a big drop for colorists (nearly 6%) and losses of more than 2% for both editorial categories. The art numbers are abysmal, but DC still had a relatively good month overall despite the losses.

Compared To A Year Ago: DC was at 10.4% female creators overall in January 2012, so they're up a decent 1.3%.


If Marvel didn't break the record for highest percentage of female creators last month, they would've this month. They're down a bit, but it's the second best total we've seen yet. In January 2013, Marvel put out 74 new comics with 643 credited creators, 552 men and 91 women. Let's look at their numbers:


They're down 0.2% overall, but still killing it. There were a lot of ups and downs by category, though. Cover artists rose slightly while editors shot up more than 7%, but everything else was down by varying amounts, including a sizeable drop of more than 6% for assistant editors. Letterers remained steady at 0% for the 24th straight month. Despite the categorical shifting, January 2013 was a very good month overall for Marvel.

Compared To A Year Ago: In January 2012, Marvel was at 10.1%, so they've gained an impressive 4.1% since then.


Last month we took a look at DC Comic's 2012 stats output, and found no real growth overall but some positive trends going into 2013. Let's see how Marvel fared in 2012 as compared to their 2011 numbers:


The good news is that Marvel is up overall in a big way. Growing from 9.5% to 12.1% is substantial, an increase of more than 27% from 2011! That's great to see, and although we're only one month into 2013's stats, Marvel is continuing to grow overall, as you saw with their 14.2% earlier (SPOILER ALERT: Their February total looks to be well above their 2012 average too). Marvel was perpetually behind DC in 2011, but they really came into their own in 2012 and took the lead.


The bad news is that while they grew overall, things didn't go so well on the creative side. Cover artists went up very slightly in 2012, but writers, pencillers, inkers, and letterers were all down compared to the 2011 averages. Not by huge margins, but certainly to a noticeable extent. As much as it's great to see strong numbers in other categories, writers, pencillers, and inkers are the big name categories that really sell the books, so it's disheartening that they were down in 2012.


However, colorists had a good year, gaining nearly 4% over the course of 2012, while editors absolutely exploded and almost doubled their 2011 total! Assistant editors were down slightly, but the big gains for colorists and editors really fueled Marvel's growth. We can also read it as a positive sign for the future: If they gained so much overall with just two categories showing substantial growth, imagine how much better this year could be if other categories improved as well! A little more female representation across the board would go a long way to further improving Marvel's overall total.


So 2012 went well overall for Marvel, but now we can look at each category's monthly totals to see trends for the year and where things might be heading for 2013. Last month I explained trend lines and all the boring details of how these charts work, so click on over there if you're interested. All you really need to know is that the lines show what direction things are moving overall, and that the charts are sized so as these lines are directly comparable to each other.


You might want to click the following chart to make it bigger. Let's look at Marvel's super mega-chart, and discuss the trends for each category:


ALL: There was steady, consistent growth over the course of the year, with only slight dips here and there. This positive increase bodes well for 2013.

Cover Artists: Unfortunately, cover artists took a bit of a nosedive, and the consistency of the decline isn't a great sign for the months to come.

Writers: The line says things improved over the course of the year, but I think December's 9.5% is skewing it a bit. That was an unusually good month for Marvel, and if you remove it from the equation then the line trends slightly downward. Hopefully the 9.5% is a sign of good months ahead, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Pencillers: There's obviously a bad decline here, but there's a bit of a silver lining in that the last three months of the year were decent relative to the six that preceded them. While things fell badly in 2012, these last few months might be a positive indicator for2013.

Inkers: Inkers were all over the place in 2012, for a net decline. Lord only knows where they'll go in 2013, but things seem to be in decline.

Colorists: Despite a bit of a dip in the middle of the year, there was no real change overall over the course of 2012. Hopefully things stay leveled off at this strong total.

Letterers: Oh, letterers. There wasn't a single female letterer at Marvel all year.

Editors: There was some nice growth over the course of the year, though it appears it's plateaued over the past few months. However, that's a really good level to plateau at.

Assistant Editors: They showed some really strong growth over the course of the year. Marvel ended 2011 with some low numbers here, and started 2012 at the same low level. While assistant editors couldn't best their 2011 average overall, this impressive growth bodes well for them in 2013.

All together, some categories are heading in a positive direction while others aren't doing so hot. On the plus side, the categories that are declining really can't do much worse. Marvel falling from 2% inkers to 1% isn't going to radically affect their overall total, while there's SO much room for all of these positive trends to continue. The negative trends are close to bottoming out while the positive ones are nowhere near a ceiling, so if Marvel can keep improving their growing categories and turn a couple negative categories around, they could have a really good 2013. I mean, they could drive their growing categories off a cliff and have the worst year ever too… anything's possible. But there are a lot of positive trends and Marvel seems invested in improving their female creator ranks.

To learn more about this statistics project and its methodology click here, and to see the previous stats click here. You can visit Tim at Straitened Circumstances and follow him on Twitter @timhanley01.


About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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